Fawn MacAdie, June 2021
Fawn MacAdie's Story Behind Beauty
“The biopsy results came back, the 8cm tennis ball sized tumor in your ascending colon is malignant”. These were the words my Doctor spoke to me on January 26th, 2011. I sat there on the phone in complete shock. “What does that mean? So I have colon cancer?” Shocked. How could I, a 28 year old personal trainer/fitness instructor who eats organic and takes care of her body have CANCER?! I don’t even have family history of any type of cancer. How is this even possible? Why me? I was shocked.
After surgery in February 2011
10 years out and always an advocate for Colon Cancer Awareness!
Let me back up a little but… I knew something was off with my body when I was winded running laps in my boxing class. I am a big proponent of listening to your body and the signs something was wrong, started adding up. I felt a lump in my lower right abdomen, was anemic, was having trouble eliminating, became extremely fatigued training my clients, and teaching 8 fitness classes a week was literally kicking my ass. I was exhausted and this wasn't normal for me. These symptoms are what prompted me to see the first Doctor who told me nothing was wrong and I was most likely anemic because I worked out so much.
But I knew something was definitely wrong with my body. I mentioned my symptoms to one of my clients who happened to be a doctor, to get a second opinion. She ordered a full blood panel, ultrasound, followed by colonoscopy and that’s when they found the massive tumor. I learned how important it is to advocate for your own health. If something doesn’t feel right, trust your intuition and get a second opinion.
Surgery was on February 9th 2011, to remove the tennis ball size tumor along with 12 inches of my colon to get clear margins. With so many emotions running through my body every day, I was told a mantra that I repeated when negative or fearful thoughts came to mind. “Strong Mind, Strong Body, Strong Soul”... I can and will get through this and whatever may lie ahead.
After my surgery, I was extremely lucky to receive the news that all 47 lymph nodes of my colon wall came back clear! The cancer had not spread and my oncologist did not recommend any further treatments. As an extremely active person, the hardest part of my recovery from stage II colon cancer, with major abdominal surgery, was taking it slow. I am used to using my body every day, teaching spin class, running, yoga, surfing, strength training, all of the movements. After being forced to slow down, I had a much deeper appreciation for the simple things my body does for me, like being able to get out of bed on my own.
I will say the biggest fears running through my mind at the time were…. will I be able to have babies, what is my scar going to look like, if I need chemo will I lose all my hair, how will I have the strength to workout during treatment, how will I be able to workout with a colectomy bag as there was a chance I might have needed one for a short period of time? I came to the conclusion that besides my fears about having children, most of my fears were very vain. Living in San Diego, I was very hard on myself and felt I always had to look the part of a personal trainer/group exercise instructor. In my mind, this meant having the “perfect body” , washboard abs, a tight bum, chiseled arms…. I almost got a boob job shortly before my cancer diagnosis. Looking back, I was feeling more concerned about what the 6” scar would look like on my stomach more than the cancer itself. I was living a lifestyle in southern California, that in my mind meant I had to have the perfect beach body and it clouded my experience with cancer.
Now, 10 years later, I am proud to say I have been cancer free ever since my surgery. I go in for routine blood work and colonoscopies and every check up I hear the words “You are very healthy and everything looks great!” To see the positive in what I went through, apparently I needed 12 inches of my colon removed because my body was making room to carry my twins Brooklyn & Xander, born May of 2016!
Looking back at my biggest fears while going through cancer, like I said, most of them were very vain. I was very concerned with what my body would look like after surgery and if I would ever be able to workout and live the same active life to “strive for the perfect body”. It wasn't until I was pregnant with my twins that I embraced the shape of my body and eased up on the pressure I put on myself to fit this ideal body image that society had implanted in my mind. My body kicked cancer's ass AND carried, birthed, and nursed two babies at the same time! It is pretty darn amazing what our bodies are capable of!
After giving birth my body went back to pre pregnancy shape, for the most part, but the biggest thing I came to accept is that it's ok to NOT have the perfect body. What really is the perfect body? My answer to this question is very different now than what it was 10 years ago. To me now, as a 38 year old Mom, wife, & cancer thriver, the "perfect body" comes in a variety of sizes and shapes and is defined by confidence in who you are as a person, what you have overcome in life, and inner strength to love and accept your body in this moment. I love and appreciate my strong body. I’m thankful for the strength and endurance I gain in my daily workouts that fuel me with added energy to keep up with my kids. I love that my kids say “wow Momma you are strong!”. That’s the kind of role model I want to be for them.
Reflecting on the journey my body has been on, I find it interesting how in my power center, the place where I have learned to speak my truth and be my true authentic self, has been the home to cancer, my twin babies, and the confidence of the woman I am today! I never thought of myself as a cancer survivor but a cancer THRIVER. Having colon cancer doesn’t define who I am. It’s the inner strength I found to stay positive even in those moments of fear and doubt that define the woman, wife, and mother that I am today. It’s in those days when I find myself most vulnerable that I really am my strongest. “Strong Body, Strong Mind, Strong Soul”
Do you or someone you know have an amazing story that you want to share? Through all of our life struggles, we firmly believe that your beauty shines through it all. If you think you have an interesting story behind your brand of beauty, we're looking for real women, with real life stories, to share with our community. Fill out our survey to share it with us!SUBMIT YOUR STORY HERE